Those who have dogs and cats as pets know how difficult it is to get them into water. But what about bathing a cockatiel? Do these birds prefer water, or are they as averse?
Cockatiels like water and enjoy bathing as an activity. In the forests, they clean themselves in water puddles or whenever it rains.
In captivity, they may enjoy water sprays from time to time.
Keeping your pet cockatiel clean is important, so you should regularly bathe them.
In the following article, I will talk about how you should bathe your cockatiel, how often you should do it, and the different ways to bathe them.
Do Cockatiels Like To Bathe?
Most cockatiels enjoy bathing. However, there are always some exceptions who prefer preening.
Those birds who like bathing might enjoy a dip in a fresh bowl of water, light mist baths, or getting under the shower.
In the wild, cockatiels clean themselves in puddles of water or under rain showers.
It’s an intuitive activity that helps keep their feathers clean. Bathing also makes preening easier for them.
You should experiment with different bathing techniques at home and see what your bird is comfortable with.
I will discuss some of the ways in later sections for your reference.
How Often Should I Bathe My Cockatiel?
The frequency of baths completely depends on your bird. Some cockatiels enjoy bathing and might be okay with water several times a week.
However, some might only like bathing once a month or even more.
If your cockatiel does not prefer frequent baths, refrain from forcing it, as it can put your bird in distress.
You can only find out what your bird prefers by exploring, doing it at different times, and observing their behavior.
Preparation Before Bath Time
Before bathing your cockatiel, ensure your pet’s wings are clipped. This way, they won’t fly off from you if they get scared of water.
Another important step to take before bath time is to secure all windows, doors, and openings.
What Temperature Bath Should I Make for My Cockatiel?
Cockatiels prefer bathing in lukewarm or room-temperature water. Water that is too hot or too cold can harm your bird.
I would suggest you use the sensitive inner skin of your wrist to check the temperature of the water (just like one does for a baby’s bottle).
If the water feels too hot or cold, make sure that you correct the temperature before trying anything.
What Shampoo Should I Use for Bathing My Cockatiel?
You should not use any shampoo or soap for bathing your cockatiel.
Human shampoos can be quite harsh for birds and strip the feathers of their natural oils crucial for their hygiene.
In addition to this, birds preen their feathers often. If you bathe them with shampoo or soap, they might remain embedded in the feathers.
Your bird might accidentally ingest some while preening, which can be dangerous.
Different Ways To Bathe a Cockatiel
Some birds might like taking dips in a water bowl; others might prefer a mist bath from a spray bottle. Explore what your bird prefers and go that way. I explain each of the ways below.
Let them clean themselves
Place a shallow bowl or dish of water filled halfway with clean, lukewarm water. Let your birds finish their cleaning and grooming routine on their own.
As I mentioned, they wash in puddles of water in the wild, so a bowl of water is pretty much the same for them.
Use a heavy dish or bowl so your bird does not knock it off.
Misting with a spray bottle
Another way to bathe your cockatiel is by giving them a mist bath.
Fill a spray bottle with clean water and set its nozzle to emit a fine stream of water.
Spray your bird from a little distance and allow them to groom itself.
Mist baths can be a bit tricky, and some birds may not like the spray. So make sure you use the right temperature and intensity of water.
Bathing them under a shower
You can also bathe your cockatiel under the steady stream of water in the shower or the sink.
Ensure the stream of water is not too powerful, as that can cause distress to the bird.
If you’re bathing your bird in a sink, having a multi-stream spray option on the tap head would help.
Additionally, you could also invest in a shower perch and install it near the sink or in the shower for bathing your bird.
How to bathe a baby cockatiel
You can use the same techniques on baby cockatiels as you do for an adult cockatiel but for misting and showering, just tone down the intensity of the spray.
Start only after they have started getting their feathers.
You can start by cleaning it with a wet cloth to facilitate cleaning and bathing.
Once the baby seems comfortable with that, you could try light mist baths or leave a shallow water dish or bowl for it to try by itself.
Does A Cockatiel Like Being Sprayed With Water?
A mist bath with a spray bottle is a popular bathing technique for birds.
But it’s also a difficult method. While most cockatiels enjoy being sprayed with water, some might not like it.
Your cockatiel’s reaction to being sprayed with water will tell you if or not they like it. If your bird tries to fly away or seems distressed, stop immediately.
On the other hand, if it looks happy, spray bottles are a great way to remove dirt from a cockatiel’s feathers and facilitate preening.
Ensure you use a clean spray bottle with filtered water at room temperature. Also, the water should be a light mist and not an aggressive stream.
How Do I Dry My Cockatiel After a Bath?
After a bath, you should let the cockatiel dry naturally.
Once you place your bird back on the perch in its cage, it’ll likely start preening and fluffing its feathers.
Keep the cage in a warm room without open windows or a blowing breeze so that it doesn’t get cold.
Over the years, I have seen that keeping the bird’s cage near a sunlit window after bath time is a good way to let it dry on its own.
However, be mindful not to leave it out near the sun for longer than necessary, as your cage can get too hot (especially if it is a metallic one).
Moreover, if you are keeping the cage near a window, your bird might try to fly out and injure itself.
How To Know What Bathing Method To Use
Your pet cockatiel’s personality and behavior will tell you their preference for a bathing technique.
Some cockatiels might enjoy mist baths when you spray them with water.
They may also get excited when they see you using the spray bottle for other activities or follow you around when you use it.
Or your cockatiel might accompany you in the shower every time you step in. This could be a preference for bathing in the shower.
Alternatively, your bird might enjoy the most while splashing in a water bowl more than any other bathing method.
The best way to figure this out is by exploring the different methods discussed above and seeing which one your bird likes.
When Do Cockatiels Start Bathing
You may start bathing your cockatiels once they grow feathers on their body.
Most pet owners that I have talked to start a mist bath for their cockatiels when they are between 4 and 8 weeks. By this time, the tiny feathers also start coming in.
You can also introduce them to bathing in a shallow water bowl. Try introducing them to showers only once they seem fully feathered and okay with bathing.
By using all three methods, you will also realize which method your bird likes the most.
However, if you have very young cockatiels that still haven’t developed feathers, you may clean them with a damp washcloth or a soft, lightly wet towel.
Some pet owners have also seen success using tips with warm water.
Best Bird Bath for Cockatiels
A bird bath is a smart investment if you have a pet cockatiel. You could buy one in a color that your bird likes.
These baths are a good way of replicating the natural bathing environment for your cockatiel.
It will also encourage your bird to clean and bathe regularly. I will put down a few recommendations for you below.
Hanging birdbath cube
The hanging bird bath cube could be the perfect cage accessory for your pet bird. It can be easily installed on the bars of your bird’s cage.
It can be a great accessible bath for your bird. However, check the size before purchasing to ensure your bird can comfortably fit in the cube.
Colourway large birdbath
This bird bath from Colourway can also be attached to your bird’s cage. It’s made of strong, transparent plastic and is easy to install and remove.
Lixit quick bird cage bath
This easy-to-assemble and maintain bird cage bath from Lixit is structured like a shallow dish or bowl. You can easily perch it inside your bird’s cage on one end.
Once filled with plain water, your bird can bathe itself as it pleases.
You could also hang it outside the cages on some days for the cockatiel to bathe when you take it out for playtime.
SGQCAR bird bathtub
This automatic bird bath is battery-operated. All you have to do is install batteries, and the water will start circulating from the faucet.
Your pet can take a comfortable bath in the tub. It’s easy to use and maintain. Empty the sink and remove the batteries once your bird is done bathing.
Can Cockatiels Swim?
Cockatiels can float on water as long as they can breathe above the surface.
They use their feet to paddle in the water. However, this does not necessarily mean they can swim.
If your cockatiel accidentally falls into a pool or water body, there’s a chance that it may drown, especially if it is unable to come up to the surface for air.
Hence if you let your bird near a water body, keep an eye out.
If it flies into the pool by itself, look for signs of distress so that you can help it out of the pool as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do birds like warm or cold baths?
Birds like to bathe in lukewarm water. If the water is too hot or cold, it can be harmful to the bird’s health.
Always check the water temperature before you bathe your bird in it, and ensure it’s not on either extreme.
Do birds like water baths?
Birds enjoy water baths. In the wild, they usually clean themselves in ponds, puddles, or when it rains.
In captivity, too, they might like light showers, mist baths, or splashing in water bowls.
However, some birds may dislike bathing with water and might prefer sticking to preening to clean themselves.
Can I take my cockatiel in the shower with me?
If your cockatiel shows a preference and liking for shower baths, you can take it in the shower. Install a shower perch for it to sit on and clean itself.
However, make sure the intensity of the water stream is not too strong as it might aggravate your bird, and it won’t be able to clean itself.
How deep should a cockatiel bath be?
The cockatiel’s bath should not be deeper than the bird’s height. Your cockatiel can drown in a deep bath filled with water.
Hence, ideally, cockatiel baths should be shallow and lower than the bird’s height. Buy the right one by considering your bird’s height.
Cockatiels generally like water and bathing. They do it for themselves in the wild, and most birds would want to do it in captivity as well.
Bathing them regularly will help clean their feather dust and maintain hygiene.
You can try different bathing methods with your bird to see which one it prefers and then stick to it. Just make sure that the water you use is of the right temperature.
Thank you for reading!